The dental anatomy of the molars presents deep grooves and fissures that are very distinct and unique to every tooth. The grooves and fissures are characteristic of every posterior teeth, premolar or molar, some deeper than others, while some rather shallow and presenting insignificant depths.
These spaces unfortunately trap in food particles that allow bacteria to thrive in the mouth and when disease-causing bacteria is abundant in the oral cavity, the teeth becomes prone to attack, leading to dental caries. The deep grooves and fissure create a perfect dwelling place for bacteria to grow and multiply. They settle in these areas, penetrate into the hard tissues of the teeth, spreading deeper.
A simple tooth decay can lead to bigger problems that may indicate the need for a root canal treatment or a tooth extraction. It may sound unbelievable, but dental sealants can provide amazing protection to the teeth, making it less susceptible to disease. It is applied on the occlusal surface of the teeth, allowed to penetrate into the grooves and fissures, sealing the tooth from bacterial attack.
Acting as a superb protective covering, the resin sealant flows into the grooves and fissures, so that bacteria will not be allowed to attack the tooth. Like a raincoat, the dental sealant covers the tooth from possible infection. That it completely prevents the onset of disease, it cannot be guaranteed, but dental sealants offer a reliable first line of defense that saves a person from tooth decay and the eventual loss of tooth.
So, who exactly can benefit from dental sealants? The application of dental sealants is rather simple. The tooth is cleaned and applied with a gel that opens the pores, and the flowable material is allowed to cover the tooth before it is cured and allowed to set. The following will find dental sealant applications very beneficial:
- Children with a complete deciduous dentition. Although dental sealants are ordinarily applied to permanent teeth, sound or healthy baby teeth may also be applied with sealants so that they receive enough protection before they are replaced by their permanent successors. To prevent premature loss of teeth and to avoid painful dental procedures, a baby tooth can be protected and maintained at full health.
- Children in the mixed dentition stage. As soon as the permanent teeth erupt into the mouth, they can be applied with dental sealants. So that they can be maintained at perfect health, they should be provided some protection earlier on, and not when problems are much worse and a whole lot bigger.
- Teenagers and adults with sound posterior teeth. While it is encouraged that dental sealants are applied on the teeth as soon as they erupt in the mouth, it cannot be helped that some miss on the opportunity to get it earlier on. In that case, teenagers and adults can still receive dental sealants as long as their teeth are still sound and healthy. As long as they teeth have not yet been infected with carries, the tooth can be covered and protected.
- Children and adult patients with presence of incipiencies. Incipient or pinpoint caries need not receive an extensive dental filling. A small hole can be drilled and this shallow cavity can be filled with some composite resin, and the tooth is finished with a layer of dental sealant to cover it. By doing this, you offer the tooth enough coverage and protection from bacterial attack.